Love Like God Loves

There are many illustrations that can be used to help us understand that we become like those we hang around. We will find ourselves speaking like them and we will respond very much like them to situations that might arise. The same is true, if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you accept Him as Lord, and you spend time with Him, you will learn from the only perfect and righteous One, and you will start to follow His commands and the principles that He lived out in His life. This includes loving others in much the same way as He loves you. Are you anywhere close, dear friends?

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-11-18
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 John 4:7-8; 20-21
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know him better. But if a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God—for God is love.
20 If anyone says “I love God,” but keeps on hating his brother, he is a liar; for if he doesn’t love his brother who is right there in front of him, how can he love God whom he has never seen? 21 And God himself has said that one must love not only God but his brother too.

OBSERVATION: There are many illustrations that can be used to help us understand that we become like those we hang around. We will find ourselves speaking like them and we will respond very much like them to situations that might arise. The same is true, if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you accept Him as Lord, and you spend time with Him, you will learn from the only perfect and righteous One, and you will start to follow His commands and the principles that He lived out in His life. This includes loving others in much the same way as He loves you. Are you anywhere close, dear friends?

APPLICATION: In learning from the perfect Savior, our conscience is severely impacted when we choose to stray away from His teachings and practices, and follow our old habits and way of life. John teaches that the very nature of God is ‘love’. In fact the word ‘Love’ is a name that our God is known by, for the Bible teaches that God is love. So what might be wrong with the picture where a ‘Christian’ – a child of God saved thru acceptance of His precious Son, acts like the devil and hates like him too? How would that picture fit into our Scripture teaching today? It would be classified as one described by John in verse 8 – he doesn’t know God; or in verse 20 – he is a liar by claiming his sonship with Jesus Christ. So what might it look like if we were to love like Jesus? Remember, He met with sinners – people that were looked down on by his very disciples. On the contrary, don’t we tend to mix with people just like us, and often in line with our income range? Don’t we tend to stay on our side of town and away from the poor, hungry and destitute? Remember, Jesus stopped a parade where He was being honored, so that He could meet a lame man sitting along the path of the parade. On the contrary, don’t we tend to ignore the poor man begging for food or money at the very corner where we must stop for a red light? Don’t we drive speedily along, even if a poor man is limping along a lonely road? Dear friends, if we are truly going to love like Jesus, wouldn’t we imitate those noble acts like Bible writers shared with us about Jesus? John felt so strongly about this that he wanted us to question our relationship with Jesus if we are not loving others like He did. So if we know Him, and we learn from Him as we study His Word, won’t we love like Him? Won’t we act like Him? Won’t we care for others like He did – even if it’s in an area of town where we were warned to stay away from? Even if it’s the dirty old man who sits by the road and beg? Even if it’s the lady that spread lies about you to everyone at work, or to all your close friends? Surely it’s time for us to use the Word of God to speak truth into our lives. Let it wash us from the habits we developed from our time in the world, and direct our path to imitate Jesus. Oh that we would be guided by our Master to live and love just like Him!

PRAYER: Loving Jesus, You are all-knowing, so I’m sure that You must hurt when You see all that Your kids are doing here on earth. We are led way too easily by the life we used to live, and without ever minding the impact that Your life, Your love and Your perfect ways have had on us. Many are studying Your Word, so being constantly reminded of Your love and Your character, yet we hate; we despise our neighbors because they believe differently on certain aspects of life; we pass by hungry and destitute people and depend on the other person to help them; we are afraid to get our hands dirty, even if it means helping a shut-in or a helpless elderly person. Lord, we are a ’sorry’ people, and we desperately need You, the only perfect One, to embed into us righteousness and grace so that we may look more like Jesus in the eyes of the one who never met You. May You be glorified because of the difference You make in our lives precious Lord. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while you be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

When We Choose Who We Will Hurt

When you read the subject, I bet that your mind went on someone that ‘chose’ to hurt you, or on someone you may have ‘chosen’ to hurt. However, in our verses today we could see where the very ones that Jesus chose to help, or perhaps He May have helped their loved ones, or their neighbors, yet a certain hatred developed in their hearts and minds, that resulted in a passion to destroy Jesus. How is that? Why would anyone choose to go after, or hurt someone who is strictly doing good in their midst? As we meditate on this thought today, let’s not look at our neighbor’s attitude/intentions/actions but our very own. Do we sometimes hurt those who strive to love us?

Wednesday, 2019-12-04

Bible Reference: John 18:38-40
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 38 ……… As silence filled the room, Pilate went back out to where the Jewish leaders were waiting and said to them, “He’s not guilty. I couldn’t even find one fault with him.[ab] 39 Now, you do know that we have a custom that I release one prisoner every year at Passover—shall I release your king—the king of the Jews?”[ac]
40 They shouted out over and over, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!”[ad] (Now Barabbas was a robber and a troublemaker.)

OBSERVATION: When you read the subject, I bet that your mind went on someone that ‘chose’ to hurt you, or on someone you may have ‘chosen’ to hurt. However, in our verses today we could see where the very ones that Jesus chose to help, or perhaps He May have helped their loved ones, or their neighbors, yet a certain hatred developed in their hearts and minds, that resulted in a passion to destroy Jesus. How is that? Why would anyone choose to go after, or hurt someone who is strictly doing good in their midst? As we meditate on this thought today, let’s not look at our neighbor’s attitude/intentions/actions but our very own. Do we sometimes hurt those who strive to love us?

APPLICATION: A vital part of the church that I attend, is a great team of retired missionaries. From time to time they share about persecution they experienced on the field in various foreign countries, and they pray in earnest for friends who are still on the mission field and being terribly persecuted. Some are locked in containers for days at a time, because they showed the love of God to friends who wanted to know Jesus, and/or seeking after His love and compassion. We know of missionaries currently in foreign lands that live from day to day in fear of their very lives, yet they go on sharing Truth with these people because of their love and commitment to their Father. But that’s what happens in foreign lands, isn’t it? Can you stop and think of any scenarios in your own country? What if I remind you that in my very own country, prayer was taken our of our schools, because we didn’t want religion imposed on our kids. Years later we could look at the statistics and see how, without the truth of God’s Word to guide our teachers and our kids, we are frequently and deeply saddened over the increased crime rate, including children shooting other children right in their own schools. Children – our loved ones – being shot at, killed, and sometimes doing the shooting themselves. It’s horrendous, and we are so saddened when we hear of yet another news report on incidents from our school system. Even in small towns we are having to deal with extreme crimes where loved ones are being shot. But friends, it is so obvious that when our folk are objecting to the church being the church in all of our community, our young people are only left with guidance from desperately wicked individuals who will harm you because they don’t like where you live, what you wear, or the beautiful smile on your face. Why have we not learned from the wickedness of the Jews in our Bible verses today? They preferred to have a wicked criminal released, rather than the Savior of the world who showed nothing but love to relatives, or even to the very individuals who were falsely accusing Him. May I suggest to those who know Jesus, that we all strive to live like Jesus did? Let us learn, or ask God for His strength, to love those who always show love to us, but also let us be bold enough to love everyone else the way that Jesus loved us. Jesus willingly went to the cross as an expression of love for us, even though we were mere sinners. As we seek to live like Jesus did, we will yearn to love like He did. In the Garden where He was arrested, he healed the ear of one who was attempting to arrest Him. On the cross He blessed and forgave those who led Him to the cross. Can you do that friend? Perhaps not, but I know a man who can! I also know that this same Jesus has the power to bless each reader with grace, with an extra measure of love and with boldness to love, in spite of the attitude taken by your accusers to despitefully use and abuse you. Seek a closer walk with Jesus dear friend, and allow Him to pour His love on you so that you might love others! When this happens, you will have no reason to seek revenge, hurt or attack in any form.

PRAYER: Lord, please forgive us for our tendencies to seek after self gratification, even at the expense of hurting others. That was never displayed by You, or taught to us by You. Please forgive us for allowing Satan to steer us into the evil deeds that he is known for. We are ashamed dear Lord, because in our aim to live like You and in obedience to Your commands, we should daily seek Your face and allow You to steer us aright. It is so true that our lives reflect what we ask You for. Guide us to all Truth so that we may be true examples of You in every form while here on the earth. May You always receive praise and honor because of whose we are and because of Your reflection in everything we say and do. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would highly recommend to you Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Who Are We To Judge?

There are a few powerful lessons here in this Scripture, beginning with the audacity of the paralyzed man’s friends to get their friend in front of Jesus in spite of any obstacles that might present itself. The second thing is to notice that Jesus’ first priority was to meet the man’s greatest need – forgiveness of his sin. Let’s apply this to our challenges of today….

SCRIPTURE  FROM:   Acts 11:17 (TLB)

TEXT:  17.since it was God who gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to argue?”

OBSERVATION:   Peter returned after celebrating the saving of souls – ones that the Jews thought were beyond God’s reach, for they were Gentiles. Ordinarily you would think that it would be party time as Peter returned with such great news, but instead his friends hit him immediately with all of the negative they could imagine from what they heard. I love how Peter responded, for he explained what the Holy Spirit did; and he  declared that whatever happened was so real and so clear, that it was evident that it was more than anything he could ever do, or argue with.

APPLICATION:   In reading this whole event that Peter was involved in, I believe that our first impression is to probably lash out on the disciples for searching for something negative, rather than having a celebration time planned for Peter’s return. In fact, it sounds like a huge praise service would have been a good way of saying ‘thank you’ to God for using their Brother to minister to the Gentiles, a group that the Jews thought God would reject, just like they did. But before we get too critical of the disciples, let’s reflect on our natural instincts today. I am a part of a program going on in our county right now called ‘Pursuit 21’. This is a 21-day season of prayer by several local churches, where people from our county are invited to gather at a designated place – 1 of about 12 locations strategically chosen around the county, and pray alongside other believers for the spiritual condition, and needs of our county. In most cases, the church that we attend never comes up, for we are Brothers and Sisters who serve the same Master, praying for the concerns of each other and our communities. What a glorious time as we reflect on how this might imitate what we will do in heaven! Let us always remember that exclusivity is something that we induce, when it comes to believers in Christ. At the foot of the cross, we are all the same in the eyes of Jesus – from the holiest and best pastor or priest who ever served the Lord, to the newest Christian who surrendered their lives to Jesus. And when we see God at work, let’s try hard to recognize, thank God for, and celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit, and stop picking everything apart that we see in whomever may have communicated with God through prayer for our miracle. Let’s not shroud the blessings of the Almighty with the human frailties of those touched by God in any miracle He sees fit to extend. If I am healed by God, and a friend who never shared their spiritual condition with me, tells me that they had prayed for that healing, my heart should always be fixed on praising God for His miraculous touch, and never complain or gripe about who He may have received the request from. To God be the glory, for all that He chooses to do for His children!

PRAYER:   Lord Jesus, please forgive us for our littleness in always trying to prove our worth, instead of looking for, and celebrating Your unlimited worth, and for all that You choose to bless us with. I love the song that includes these words: I have a Father, He calls me His own, He’ll never leave me, No matter where I go. He knows my name….. These words remind me that You are my personal Savior, and no matter how many may call on Your name today, You will never leave me helpless. Please help me to praise You when I see this same miracle happening in the lives of others also, for I am reminded that all of Your children are special in Your eyes. Thank You for all who witness, teach and preach about Your never ending love for all who believe on the name of Jesus Christ. To You be all glory, honor and praise, precious Jesus. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’.  If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!